Raedio's President, Benoni Tagoe, Hopes To Revolutionize Audio Everywhere

Tagoe launched the company with Issa Rae in 2019 and is working with women and artists of color to create a new lane in music, podcasting and more.
Raedio president Benoni Tagoe started the company with founder Issa Rae in 2019 after recognizing a lane to bring their "audio everywhere."
Raedio president Benoni Tagoe started the company with founder Issa Rae in 2019 after recognizing a lane to bring their "audio everywhere."
Courtesy of Raedio

When Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe launched Raedio in 2019, they knew they didn鈥檛 want their company to be just another record label. They wanted to launch a company that could create and place audio via podcasts, in film and on television shows, on airplanes, in cars 鈥 everywhere, really. The limit doesn鈥檛 exist for them.

鈥淲e call it Raedio, an audio everywhere company, because we want to exist wherever audio exists,鈥 Tagoe said.

Tagoe, the company鈥檚 president, said that, as he noticed more companies pivoting to focusing on video, putting an emphasis on audio in a similar fashion was a no-brainer. 鈥淚 feel audio in a lot of cases sometimes may travel faster and further.鈥

Thus came into being a home for a record label, publishing company, music supervision, music library and events (like Hoorae鈥檚 recent Kennedy Center takeover). It currently has several artists signed, including TeaMarr, NCognita and Josh Levi. It also brought on The Read as its first podcast and has done music supervision for TV and film productions, including 鈥淧-Valley,鈥 鈥淲oke鈥 and 鈥淧ower.鈥

But the road to Raedio started at least a decade ago. Tagoe had just left his role on the Jonas Brothers鈥 management team when he started working with Rae on her critically acclaimed web series 鈥淭he Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.鈥 Initially his role was to help get as many eyes on the show as possible. As the show became more established and drew more attention, Tagoe and Rae began thinking about ways they could expand. Talks about merch and even cookies and candy came into the picture, but music was the idea that really stuck. Original earworms (脿 la Booty Shawts by the Doublemint Twins) and music from up-and-coming artists at the time became a part of the show鈥檚 DNA.

The soul of that transcended the web series when Rae struck a deal with HBO for her debut network show, 鈥淚nsecure.鈥 Out of the gate, music was an integral part of the show. It notably became a main character of the show, featuring familiar favorites and putting fans onto new artists and tunes. They even began getting approached for music opportunities, thus creating an open lane for Raedio to form.

Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe at Raedio's friends-and-family dinner in Los Angeles on Oct. 22, 2021.
Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe at Raedio's friends-and-family dinner in Los Angeles on Oct. 22, 2021.
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Raedio

Tagoe and Rae believed Raedio was important for several reasons. One being how ragged the music industry can be for artists. In a 2021 interview for the Los Angeles Times, Rae said music was an 鈥渁busive industry鈥 and that it needed to 鈥渟tart over.鈥

鈥淎nd finding out how artists were treated at other labels鈥 Being a creator myself and knowing what I want in terms of a relationship with a production company or a producer, I鈥檇 like to think that we鈥檙e more artist-friendly than a lot of other labels and companies out there. I want to revamp things,鈥 she told the L.A. Times.

Though Raedio鈥檚 mission isn鈥檛 explicitly to fix issues that exist within the music industry, a lot of the company鈥檚 decisions aim to do a better job than most. It works with its signed artists, a majority of whom are women, to market, promote and place their music in as many places as possible to increase exposure. Its entire leadership board is made up of women and people of color. And it just announced the finalists for its Google-sponsored creators program in which four women (Jae Stephens, Dri Jack, Suzi Analogue and Caroline Ho) will receive funding, resources and mentorship to align them with opportunities in the music industry.

鈥淜eeping an eye out for women, keeping an eye out for underrepresented communities is just part of our brand makeup,鈥 Tagoe said. He considers Raedio a disruptor.

鈥淭he thing about Raedio is we always ask the question why. There鈥檚 a lot of things that happen in the industry that鈥檚 just status quo, and that鈥檚 fine, but I always ask the question why,鈥 the company president said. 鈥淎nd so asking that question why and finding opportunities to change how things have been done have really worked well for us.鈥

Josh Levi, left, Issa Rae, TeaMarrr, NCognita and Benoni Tagoe attend Raedio's friends-and-family dinner in Los Angeles last October.
Josh Levi, left, Issa Rae, TeaMarrr, NCognita and Benoni Tagoe attend Raedio's friends-and-family dinner in Los Angeles last October.
Randy Shropshire via Getty Images for Raedio

Tagoe added, 鈥淎 lot of times when an artist is coming up and they鈥檙e looking for a deal or they鈥檙e looking for a partnership, we鈥檙e a viable option because we鈥檙e able to be creative in how we do our deal stuff, is where we鈥檙e able to be creative and how we work with artists. And although we have a label and we have a publishing company, we have music supervision, we came into music being a resource. We didn鈥檛 come into music to be a competition to everyone.鈥

The company is still new, so there is still a lot to learn, he said. Its goal right now is to create best-in-class content while it looks to work with other companies and more to create the sounds you hear when a car is started, the beeps hospital equipment makes, and more in the long term.

Raedio has a lot on the docket this year. In January, the company signed a podcast development deal with Audible. (Raedio just won a Webby for the scripted 鈥淚nsecure鈥 spinoff podcast, 鈥淲e Stay Looking.鈥) The company will also head music supervision for Rae鈥檚 forthcoming HBO show, 鈥淩ap Shit,鈥 which is a musical 鈥 a project very different from other productions it has worked on. And, of course, it鈥檚 looking to push their artists NCognita, Josh Levi and TeaMarrr as they release new music this year.

鈥淲hen it鈥檚 all said and done, I hope that we have the same legacy as some of the places that I looked up to before,鈥 Tagoe said. 鈥淚 want to have a legacy like Def Jam, where they stood for something. And when they came onto the scene, they had impact, and there鈥檚 things that we still talk about today that was based off of their impact. Or even like Rock A Fella or Murder Inc. and Bad Boy. At the end of day, I want people to say that Raedio contributed to an era or eras of music.鈥

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